Things To Know About National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Each year on February 7th, national and nonprofit health organizations seek to increase both HIV awareness and AIDS awareness among Americans by observing National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. The purpose of this day is twofold. It aims to educate the public about the impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in general. However, it also highlights the fact that HIV and AIDs disproportionately impact Black communities, which already face numerous health inequities.
This important day additionally serves as a reminder to get tested for HIV and support individuals living with HIV and AIDS, particularly those in systemically disadvantaged groups. Here are some important facts to know about HIV and AIDS in Black communities:
- As of 2019, Black people made up only 13% of the U.S. population, yet accounted for 42% of new HIV diagnoses that year.
- Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV. In 2020, Black MSM accounted for about 26% of new HIV diagnoses as well as 39% of total MSM diagnoses.
- Black women are also disproportionately affected by HIV, accounting for 61% of new HIV diagnoses among women of all races in 2016.
- Social and economic factors such as poverty, barriers to healthcare (such as lack of employer-sponsored health insurance), and discrimination are strong contributing factors to the higher rates of HIV and AIDS in Black communities.
- HIV testing is critical for preventing the spread of HIV and for getting treatment for those who live with it. The CDC recommends that everyone aged 13-64 get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime and that those at greater risk get tested more frequently.
- The CDC also recommends that people at high risk for HIV should consider obtaining a prescription for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill that can reduce the risk of HIV infection via injection drug use by at least 74% and via sex by 99%.
- Once diagnosed with HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help people living with HIV to live long and healthy lives. Antiretroviral therapy also helps them to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is an opportunity to educate yourself and others and take action to address the impact of HIV and AIDS on Black communities. Get tested, know your status, and take steps to protect yourself and others. Because this day falls during Black History Month, it’s also an excellent time to learn about other health inequities that Black populations face and support efforts to improve medical and wellness outcomes for these communities.
A Good Prescription for the Health of Black Americans
The African American Wellness Project (AAWP) was formed in 2002 to respond to inequities in the healthcare delivery system and is dedicated to health equity and better health outcomes for people of color. African Americans suffer from health conditions at a disproportionately higher rate than other ethnic groups. AAWP serves as a trusted megaphone and provides culturally relevant tools, resources, information, and programming that enables and encourage African Americans to advocate for themselves and protect their health, regardless of insurance or circumstances.
Check out our website aawellnessproject.org, follow us on social media, consider making a donation (hyperlink https://aawellnessproject.org/donate/) and join us in our important mission!